Texas Supreme Court tosses defamation suit against Glassdoor for lack of jurisdiction

By Takesha Thomas | Feb 8, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) – A lawsuit involving job website Glassdoor has been dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court.

On Jan. 25, the Supreme Court of Texas vacated judgments of the trial court and the 5th District Court of Appeals involving Glassdoor Inc. and Andra Group, LP, a Dallas-based online clothing retailer, for want of jurisdiction.

"Because the statute of limitations has conclusively run on the potential claims Andra seeks to investigate under Rule 202, Andra’s petition for pre-suit discovery is moot. Further, because Glassdoor (and Does 1 and 2) did not prevail on their Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) motion to dismiss before the petition was rendered moot, that motion is moot as well," Justice Debra H. Lehrmann wrote.

Citing the TCPA, Andra had asked a court to allow for the investigation of "potential defamation and business disparagement claims against several anonymous individuals who posted negative statements" on the Glassdoor site, the opinion states. 

In opposition, Glassdoor filed a request for relief "asserting that disclosure of the reviewers’ identities would violate the First Amendment," the opinion states. Additionally, Glassdoor filed a motion to dismiss Andra’s petition under TCPA.

According to the opinion, Andra Group received 10 negative reviews on Glassdoor's site between July 2014 and June 2015. The reviews were posted by individuals who claimed they were current and former employees of Andra. 

Among the negative reviews were claims that, "Andra’s hiring practices are illegal, Andra is violating labor laws, Andra is engaged in harassment based upon race and sexual orientation, [I]llegal immigrants are working at Andra and Andra’s supervisor Jorge is racist and sexist," the opinion states.

Andra then filed a verified petition requesting deposition before suit in August 2015 "seeking to depose Glassdoor under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202 in order to obtain the reviewers’ identities and account information," the opinion states.

Under Glassdoor policy "users may post, anonymously if they wish, reviews and ratings of their current and former employers," the opinion states.

According to the opinion, the reviews are available to site users for free and users must agree to the site’s terms and conditions to obtain full access to the site. Glassdoor does not draft or edit its users' posts.

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